The Epistle of Yarico and Inkle, A Poem – Madison

Inkle and Yarico

The story of Inkle and Yarico is one that of a tragic romance. Inkle, a trader from London, travels to the West-Indies seeking fortunes and merchandise. There, Inkle falls in love with a Native American maid names Yarico. Yarico tends to Inkle’s every need, but in a panic over the profit lost spending his Tim with Yarico, Inkle sold Yarico to serve as a Barbadian merchant’s slave.

Issac Story’s 1750 book, The Epistle of Yarico and Inkle, A Poem, depicts a message Yarico sent to Inkle describing her betrayal and heart-ache. Therefore, I utilized a few web-based text analysis tools to research how a modern interpretation of the story influences views toward Yarico.

Now, what do I mean by a “modern interpretation”? Picture reading the story of Inkle and Yarico in 1750. Native American enslavement began to digress due to the rise of the importation of African slaves. Being published in Edinburgh, Scotland, European readers of The Epistle of Yarico and Inkle, A Poem most likely frowned upon Native Americans. So their interpretation of the book could have focused around the idea of justification for Inkle’s decision. Alternatively, in 2021, reading The Epistle of Yarico and Inkle, A Poem in a different historical context creates an entirely different idea. With society’s aim for equal treatment of all people, no matter their race, you may interpret the book as Inkle betraying Yarico. So as a “modern interpretation” would constitute an understanding of the book with modern ideas and values.

Let’s Begin…

Upon pasting the transcription of Issac Story’s 1750 book, The Epistle of Yarico and Inkle, A Poem, into the Word Counter text analysis tool, “love” was noted as the most frequently used word. Furthermore, I analyzed the epistle in Word Tree, another text analysis tool that isolates the preceding and following phrase of a certain word. One line that drew my attention was:

Is’twas a fault, alas! I’m guilty still,

For still I love, and while I live, I will;

This sentence demonstrates that Yarico feels responsible for losing Inkle. Yarico’s heart-ache for Inkle causes her to blame herself for why she ended up into enslavement without her love. Yet, Yarico later expresses her anger towards Inkle:

Who then would snatch you from your pale despair?

You’d find no YARICO to shield you there;

My first impression of this made me think that Yarico is in the third step of the 7 stages of grief: anger. However, one may find it rewarding that after blaming herself for her tragedy, Yarico now sees Inkle as the man who betrayed her. Along with modern ideas of feminism, it is empowering to read Yarico as a dynamic character from being portrayed as naive to empowering and recognizing herself as an asset one out to hold on to. Therefore, I added, “love” and “anger” as metadata tags.

As I continue to analyze this text, I noticed how Yarico’s race is not depicted in any significant way. In fact, you may read the entire book without even knowing the premise of Yarico’s race. I guess this is an advantage because it eliminates all preexisting racial bias and allows the focus to be on Yarico as a woman.

Let’s Regroup…

Now I can go on and pinpoint places that suggest Yarico going through the 7 stages of grief, but then we’d get a bit side-tracked. So let’s return to our research question: how does a modern interpretation of the story influence views toward Yarico. Well, we saw Yarico focused as a woman rather than a Native American, and saw the ups and downs of her efforts to wrap her head around Inkle’s betrayal. With modern ideas, I’d say Yarico is quite an average person. She goes through a break-up and struggles to understand Inkle’s motives. Moreover, the trigrams from Word Counter acknowledge “tell me why” as one of the most frequent phrases of the document. This trigram signifies Yarico’s loss of understanding for Inkle’s actions her possible reasons to justify Inkle.

Additionally, I think it proper to acknowledge how little influence the author had in the book. As a male author writing a book from a female perspective in a time where race and gender served as the lens of society, Issac Story was able to separate his bias and allow the reader to finalize their opinion towards Yarico, rather than leading the reader to his opinion.

Overall, a modern interpretation of the story sways views to sympathize with Yarico. Without preexisting bias from outside influences or the author, readers portray Yarico as a woman trying to reconcile with her heart-ache, to which we all can one way or another relate to.


Metadata Tags:

  • Length: 3,964
  • Publication Year: 1750
  • Publication Location: Edinburgh, Scotland
  • Author: Issac Story
  • Literary Genre: Poetry
  • Publication Type: Book
  • Point of View: First Person
  • Yarico’s Race: Native American
  • Themes: love, anger, sorrow, heart-ache